Securing the Border: What Does It Mean?

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Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic asks what is meant by securing the border:

Is a border secure only when no one crosses illegally and when no contraband slips through?

If some permeability is acceptable, what is the tolerable amount?

Political leaders mostly dodge those questions, and for good reason: Anyone with a minimal knowledge or understanding about the nearly 2,000-mile swath of land between Mexico and the United States realizes that requiring a secure border establishes an impossible standard.

Randal C. Archibold of The New York Times examines whether the situation is really growing worse:


It is also an election year, and crime and illegal immigration — and especially forging a link between the two — remain a potent boost for any campaign. Gov. Jan Brewer’s popularity, once in question over promoting a sales tax increase, surged after signing the immigration bill, which is known as SB 1070 but officially called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.

No matter that manpower and technology are at unprecedented levels at the border, it may never be secure enough in Arizona’s hothouse political climate when Congressional seats, the governor’s office and other positions are at stake in the Aug. 24 primaries.

It took the Obama administration a few weeks to bow to that political reality and go from trumpeting the border as more secure than it had ever been to ordering National Guard troops to take up position there — most of them in Arizona, Mr. Obama assured Ms. Brewer in a private meeting — because it was not secure enough.

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